Apple has paid the Swiss railway company SBB $21 million (£13.2 million) in order to continue to use the national rail operator's iconic clock design in iOS. The iPad clock is identical and was allegedly used without permission.

Swiss publication Tages-Anzeiger reports that rather than change its clock design, Apple has opted to pay SBB a "licence fee" of "not just a few hundred thousand, but apparently some 20 million Swiss francs".

The deal comes after SBB met Apple to ask why it had used its design without permission in the first place. It was designed for the rail service in 1944 by Swiss engineer Hans Hilfiker and is still used in stations nationally.

The clock as found on the iPad in iOS 6

However, it doesn't seem as if SBB is too upset that the Cupertino manufacturer copied it. The company even told news agency AFP the use was flattering. "We're rather proud that a brand as important as Apple is using our design," it said.

apple shells out 21 million to swiss rail for pilfering clock image 2

The Swiss firm will be even more proud of its new bank balance.

Main pic: (cc) gsdali